Allingham, Readyoff & Henry, LLC, are experienced trial lawyers that represent individuals, commercial renters and landlords in various types of rental disputes.
Believe it or not, it can be very difficult to prosecute an eviction if you do not follow the proper steps. The eviction process in Connecticut is known as summary process. In a summary process action, the housing court can only award possession, not money damages. Therefore, if there is a money claim or security deposit dispute, it must be brought in a separate civil action.
The first step in an effort to obtain possession to your property is to have the tenant served with a notice to quit. The notice to quit must give the tenant at least three (3) intervening days from its service to vacate the premises. Keep in mind you do not count the day the tenant is served or the day they have to leave. Therefore, in all actuality, it is five (5) days. In that notice to quit, you must specifically state the basis for terminating the tenancy. For example, expiration of lease (lapse of time), non-payment of rent, breach of tenant’s statutory duties, breach of lease terms (after serving a KAPA notice), illegal conduct or serious nuisance. Assuming the tenant does not vacate the premises, you must then commence the summary process lawsuit. You must name all adult occupants in the lawsuit. The lawsuit must be served by a marshal at least six days before the return date and filed three days prior to the return date. After being served, the tenant will likely file an appearance, answer and possibly special defenses. The Court may then schedule the matter for a hearing date. Both parties will be required to meet with a housing mediator who will try to get the parties to come to an agreement. If the parties do not reach an agreement, the matter will be scheduled for a trial.
Because summary process was created by statute, the rules are strictly construed by the courts. Therefore, if you make a minor procedural mistake, your case will be dismissed. Our attorneys have been successful in having numerous summary process actions dismissed for failure to follow these rules. This is fatal because it results in the landlord having to start the action all over again, while the tenant is not paying rent. We have tried cases successfully on behalf of both tenants and landlords. If you would like a free consultation, please contact our lawyers to discuss your matter.